Skip to main content

Help is on the way!

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
September 27, 2023
John 15:9-12

Jesus has a marvelous way of teaching. He invites all who choose to follow him to do just that, to follow him. This manner of teaching, or leading by example, is indeed a high standard to follow. In the passage I have chosen for today, Jesus is teaching his followers to abide in his love. The word abide means to remain, or sojourn. It is a picture of sticking with the plan; “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now, abide in my love. If you obey my commands, you will abide in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Recently I was exposed to some great examples of this kind of love. Friends and family gathered around to help a young family during a most difficult time. They sacrificed their own family time and resources to stay close and provide for this hurting family all through an extended illness and even more sacrifices were made during the final week before their loved one passed on. It’s one thing to say we love someone, it’s quite another to show it consistently and without conditions. That’s what Jesus taught, that’s what Jesus did and all the more as he sacrificed his own life for a lost world of hurting people.

The end of our passage for today tells us that when we love the way Jesus loved, we will have joy. This is where the “sojourn” part of the definition of the word “abide” comes into play. We will experience joy in this journey of faith as we trust in and abide in the Father’s love, even in the most difficult times. Hold on, Help is on the way!



“Oh God, help me!”

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
September 21, 2023
Psalm 130:1-5

Have you ever been waiting on a phone call that you wish you didn’t have to answer, but you knew you needed to prepare for it? Someone reading this may have memories of waiting to hear about a test result, or perhaps an attorney responding to situation in which you are involved, or, (you fill in the blank).

I received a phone call about a week ago from our daughter, asking if I could be prepared to pick up our grandkids from school for a couple of days as she was needed out of town to support a very dear friend who had to make a decision to place her husband in a Hospice care facility. I was very happy to help and very thankful that I have a schedule that allows for quick changes, and yet at the same time, I felt helpless to comfort and encourage her as she didn’t know how many days she would have to be away from her young family. I wanted so much to have something to say or give to her young friend who was losing her husband, and her precious kids who were losing their daddy.

It’s times like these that I am brought to my knees and cry out to the God who knows everything about me and still loves me with an undying love. How often have you been suddenly thrust into a moment when all you could do was cry out; “Oh God, help me!”

The Psalmist cries out; “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore, you are feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I put my hope”. In my mind, and can hear someone singing ; “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name…”.



God is Our Refuge and Strength

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
September 13, 2023
Psalm 46:1

This past Monday was a day to remember. A day to remember a great tragedy and a great awakening. A great tragedy as our country found itself under attack by terrorists, and a great awakening that our country could be so vulnerable. It was a day, like so many other days, full of work and schedules to maintain. A day that started, for me, with a devotional, a quick prayer and off I went with my own agenda ahead of me. Do you remember September 11, 2001?

This past Monday, I started the day very similar to the way I started my day some 22 years ago. I began my devotional with the day’s events running around in my mind. I started to pray over all that lay ahead of me. Then, my phone reminded me of a special time of prayer with a dear pastor who daily posts a quick video from some local spot where he shares a word from The Lord and a fitting prayer for the day. When the pastor stated that we should not only remember the tragedy, but those who continue to be greatly affected by it, I realized how selfish I was and that I did what I preach against so often; I only, really, had my self ahead of everyone else. What followed was a powerful moment of grieving and repentance.

Do you remember what you were doing on that fateful day of September 11th 2021? I can picture myself clad in my deli apron and hairnet, preparing the store where I worked for a busy day. Though, I don’t work in a deli anymore, I am still starting my days preparing but now I wonder if I am truly preparing, or if I am just going through the motions.

My devotional reading for Monday was written by a survivor of 9/11. She and her husband lived in an apartment just six blocks away from the World Trade Center. She admitted that in her fear she cried out to God, but felt that God would not answer her prayer as she had given up on her faith years before. Looking back, she realized that God was meeting her in her lowest point and continues to be a very present help. That is what today’s verse is all about; “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”. Don’t miss the “is”, “our” and “ever-present” part of this scripture. God is, not was or gonna be. He is for all of us, our help, no matter what we face this day or in days to come. He is always present, right in the middle of it all.

I realize that you may be reading this today and feel as if I don’t have a clue as to the depth of grief, fear or anxiety that faces you. Well, you would be right, but I do the know the One who knows and I promise you that I am calling out to Him for you and asking Him to forgive my selfish ambitions, and agenda..

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”.



Don't Give Up

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
September 7, 2023
Psalm 103:8-12

This week has been full of surprises, good and not-so-good. The good surprise reminded me that when I pray, I should pray believing for God’s best and he will do it in His time and in His way, which He did, over and over again. The not-so-good surprise came in the form of a dear one suffering from high anxiety as she watches our world go the way my father used to say; “to hell in a handbasket”. I view the crazy events in our world as a reminder that God has provided a way to heaven, and He longs for all his creation to partner with Him in that way, the way of Love, the way of Jesus.

I love being invited by God to join him in the kingdom work. In fact, I love being invited along with those around me who choose to say “yes” to this same invitation. I guess that is why I chose the above scripture for today’s meditation. It reminds us to remember that God’s love for humankind goes far above anything we can understand. In point of fact the Psalmist says; “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”.

To “fear” God is simply to have, as Webster’s says; “a profound reverence toward God [while having] anticipation of danger”. I get that a little better these days. When I have a profound reverence for this mighty God I serve, I am to equally be mindful of the terrible danger that awaits if I should choose to ignore or disrespect Him and his creation. I can’t help but think much of the anxiety I have experienced and I see in others is due, in a large part, by either keeping God at a distance, or by ignoring the fact that apart from Him and his will in my life, I am in great danger. The danger could be physical, emotional, and always spiritual.

So, here is my thought for the day for us all; When you experience fear or anxiety, look back at Psalm 103 and simply ask God how He might reveal to you just how far He has gone to demonstrate His love and plan for you. You may have to do this several times, that’s ok. Just don’t give up.



God’s Word is so Good

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
August 23, 2023
1 Samuel 19:18-23, Psalm 73:21-26

You might want to get another cup of coffee or tea before beginning this meditation as it will be just a bit longer than usual. I hope this won’t put you off, because you just might find an assignment from God to bless you like never before. God’s word is so good.

Have you ever stumbled across a passage of scripture that spoke out to you something you never thought before? I did that this week. I was a bit distracted while reading my devotional and thought to myself; what in the world does this have to do with the “thought for the day”? I brushed it off and thought it must have been a typo. Come to find out when I went to look it up again, I was on the wrong chapter. Still, I couldn’t shake the message I was being given.

1 Samuel 19:18-23 is all about King Saul pursuing David to kill him and prevent him from becoming King. It seems the Prophet Samuel gathered his fellow prophets and went with David to a place of safety and began to encircle him and prophesy and pray with David.

From different studies and life events, I have discovered that some of the most powerful prophesy comes from reciting scripture from memory. Often, I think, we might view prophecy as fore-telling, or predicting future events, however, prophecy is also known as forth-telling, speaking God’s word.

What follows is the remainder of King Saul’s experience as he continues to pursue David in this particular passage. King Saul sends out a group of men to locate and kill David. They discovered, as they approached the group of prophets, the Holy Spirit “came upon [Saul’s] men and they also prophesied”. The same thing happens to the next group of men sent by Saul. A very frustrated and enraged King Saul finally goes himself. Pause, can’t you just hear him mumble; “if you want to get a job done right, just do it yourself”. Guess what happens to Saul. Yep, the very same thing that happened to Saul’s men. The powerful Holy Spirit “came even upon him and he walked along and prophesied”.

I looked into the Psalms, and landed on Psalm 73:21-26; “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever

My “thought for the day” is; Everyone who is in the Lord can and will prophesy when we will “hide his word in our hearts”.



Power in Weakness

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
August 17, 2023
2 Corinthians 12:7-100
Power in Weakness

Have you ever heard someone say “Don’t confuse meekness with weakness”? I thought about that this week as I was going over some devotional readings and especially our verses for today’s posting. In context, Paul is admitting that he has been given an affliction of some sort. It could be physical, emotional, but is most definitely affecting his spiritual life.

He says he believes that this affliction, this “thorn in his flesh” was a “messenger from Satan to torment me”. Many scholars believe this “thorn in the flesh” was definitely physical, it could be an eye disorder or seizures like epilepsy. I’ve often wondered if the greatest hurt from whatever the “thorn” could be, was the mental distraught it brought on. Perhaps many sleepless nights remembering the persecution he brought on the early believers. Nightmares filled with images of the kinds of tortures those martyrs suffered because of him.

Paul does what we all should do first when we are “attacked” or “afflicted” by something or someone; he goes to his heavenly father: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’”. All I can say in response to this conversation with the Lord is, God, help my unbelief! I am grateful to be part of a praying community, and yet the burden to pray for those chronically ill, people young and old with conditions no doctor seems able to help, is painful for me, but I know that God has a plan and if I submit to him and pray as he taught his disciples to pray, ultimately the healing will come. I pray that my meek attempts to comfort and assure the people entrusted to me will point the way to his amazing grace.

It is good to be bold in asking for greater things than we could ever think or imagine, yet, at the same time, recognize it is God who is in charge, he doesn’t need my advice.



An Attitude Check!

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
August 9, 2023
1 John 3:18-20

There are days when I struggle with selfishness. For the most part, it plays out in my attitude which is closely connected to my motives for doing or not doing something. The other day, I was trying to get myself together to get several household tasks taken care of, when my sweet and generous husband interrupted and before you know it I got sidetracked and wound up doing some of the tasks he started. To be honest, I think he sees that as a demonstration of my tendency to take control . I am guessing that I am not the only one who deals with this issue, so, take heart, God has a plan.

Our Scripture for today comes from the Apostle John; “Dear children [that includes you and me ], let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything”.

Yep, God knows everything. He is very familiar with my attitudes and motives. I decided I needed an attitude check and suddenly the words came into my mind: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” (from the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning). True to form, I tweeked the next line and said out loud for our cat to hear, “I love thee by putting the clean sheets on the bed. I love thee by finishing the dishes. I love thee by putting the wet laundry that you started in the dryer. I love thee by cleaning the Kitty Litter EVERY DAY… You get the idea. Before you know it, I heard my selfish attitude and decided to change it. Elizabeth’s words are more in line with God’s;

“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height (My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight) For the ends of being and ideal grace. (I love thee to the level of every day’s) Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. (I love thee freely, as men strive for right.) I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. (I love thee with the passion put to use) In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. (I love thee with a love I seemed to lose) With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, (Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose) I shall but love thee better after death”.



Light and Harmony

Midweek Study with Pastor Edith
August 2, 2023
1 John 1:5-7

This evening I will be participating in a quartet at a dinner event and am very excited to get together with my singing partners from Lanesville United Methodist Church. We sort of came together by accident when several years ago we started singing together during worship services. From there, one of our members asked if we could sing during the holidays at a nursing home and well, it sort of took off from there. Funny, how the Lord expands your service opportunities if you will just take the first step, or in my case, sing the first note .

I am relatively sure that one of the songs will be singing is “I Saw the Light”. It always seems to go over well and most people seem to know at least the chorus. With this said, I am encouraged to reflect on these words in 1 John 1:5-7; “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”. The “darkness” of which John speaks is explained in chapter 2 and verses 9-11. In these verses, “darkness” is hating a fellow Christian and “Light” is loving them. Hate is a very strong word. I have often heard it said; “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, but I’ve also heard “Love the sinner, hate your own sin”. Ouch! That gets pretty close, doesn’t it? It seems to me that if I spend a bit more time evaluating my life and motives, I will spend less time criticizing others and even spreading hate through my words and behaviors. It can be difficult to see ourselves clearly sometimes, but taking time daily to sit with the Lord in his word, prayer and meditation, is a tried and true way of walking in the Light.

My singing partners and I don’t see eye to eye on everything, but we do agree on the main thing; Jesus is the Light of the world. I am looking forward to walking in the Light with the quartet this evening, and with all of you who are fellow sojourners on this walk of faith.

“Praise the Lord, I saw the light”!